Hong Kong has announced the decision to suspend Philippine Airline flights from Manila starting August 29, 2021, until September 11, 2021. This was imposed after three of the seven imported coronavirus cases confirmed in Hong Kong on August 29, 2021, were found to have come from Manila via Philippine Airlines flight PR300.
The two-week ban will likely disrupt the plans of overseas Filipino workers employed in Hong Kong. This decision to ban Philippine Airlines flights from Manila came just as Hong Kong lifted the entry ban on vaccinated domestic helpers from Indonesia and the Philippines. As of 2018, there were over 370,000 migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong, and 98% of them come from the Philippines and Indonesia.
“This is going to be a big impact, not only for clients intending to bring in helpers, but also future clients who are open to hiring helpers overseas will now have second thoughts,” says Mike Cheung Chung-Wai, president of the Overseas Employment Centre.
Other employment unions, however, noted that there are still other airline options available to fly from Manila to Hong Kong such as Cathay Pacific Airways and Cebu Pacific Air.
“The impact is not so serious as two other airlines are still operating, but it’s quite embarrassing for employers to rebook flights from Philippine Airlines to other airlines; the time frame is quite tight,” says Thomas Chan Tung-fung, chairman of the Hong Kong Union of Employment Agencies.